Toronto Maplereefers Parrothead Club Website

"Margaritaville" North of the 49th Parallel

Maplereefer Dennis Kucherawy's Guest Column in the Wed. Nov 10th Toronto Sun.

A shoebox full of Canadian treasure

It’s astonishing how a simple shoebox can transport you to the war in Afghanistan, placing you right beside our soldiers on the front lines.

Most of us hear about the war through newspaper and the electronic media. I learned about the exploits of our men and women through the magic of e-mails sent from Kandahar by a friend I made this year, Warrant Officer Dan Jessome of Alberta.

I met him through Operation Shoebox, a program started by one of the founders of the Jimmy Buffett fan club — the Toronto Maple Reefers — Joey Montagnese of Newmarket, Ont.

The Reefers have an important charitable goal, and that’s — “Party With A Purpose.”

In 2008, Joey wanted to let our brave men and women know how their efforts and sacrifices are not forgotten, that Canadians appreciate them. So began Operation Shoebox. We visited stores and filled shoeboxes with items a soldier might appreciate and use, everything from wet naps and Q-tips to home-made cookies and even CDs.

My wife and I prepared and sent our first boxes that year, but forgot to include our e-mail address. Last year, we filled two boxes again.

Then, at the last minute, I grabbed two CDs of a Gordon Lightfoot greatest hits album featuring his classic Canadian Railroad Trilogy.

This time we included our e-mail address. A little over a month later, we received an e-mail: “Let me begin with a thank you. I am sitting here typing this e-mail in a forward operating base north of Kandahar Airfield, listening to Gordon Lightfoot. Wow, how close to Canada can you get?... Your thoughtfulness goes far beyond expectation and, sincerely, thanks.”

My wife and I began a pen pal friendship with Dan via e-mail.

An accomplished photographer, Dan sent us amazing pictures not only of the war, but also of the beautiful Afghan countryside. Especially moving were pictures of our soldiers with Afghan civilians, many of them children, as our military worked with them, teaching them, befriending them.

Dan told us Operation Shoebox is important to them: “(Our soldiers) are well cared for and, for the most part, in need of nothing other than a message from home. It is a rough time of year for anyone to be away from their loved ones. My Christmas last year was: Hearing one of our soldiers was killed on Christmas Eve, being on duty all day on Christmas Day, sending our fallen home on the 26th, striking and IED on Dec. 27th, learning five Canadians (one reporter, four soldiers) were killed by an IED on the same road on Dec. 30th, bidding farewell to our fallen on Jan. 1st, New Year’s Day.

“It is indeed a tough environment; you have to stay sharp all the time. A moment of weakness can result in your own or your buddies’ serious injury or death. All that said, there are many who would and are on their second, third, fourth mission over here…

“Our respect as an Army has been rejuvenated in the eyes of the average Canadian that has carried us through WW1, WW2, Korea and will be with us wherever the next conflict leads us. Am I proud of what I do? You have no idea. I am proud to be a Canadian. Are we ever!”

Dan is now back home and living in Fort Saskatchewan. Joey passed away in June from lung cancer. Dan called him during his final days to thank him for his pioneering vision.




MARGARITAVILLE NIAGARA FALLS - VIP Opening, Thursday June 17, 2010


Good Morning Leanne. Norm Marshall writing, we met yesterday. I am one of the founders and Past President of the Toronto Maple Reefers Parrothead Club. I was supposed to drive Joe there but...Your kind words about Joey were very well done.

I wanted to say Thank You for a thoroughly classy Grand Opening VIP Party. The place looks fantastic, your staff were all friendly and all appeared well trained and I wish you all tremendous success and a long and happy partnership. I have been at several Margaritavilles and all were friendly and fun times but I don't think I've had such a completely enjoyable experience as I did last night. Thank You for inviting me and some of my friends to it.

Please feel free to circulate this. I will see something is posted immediately on our club website as well and I know we are planning a massive invasion of Margaritaville early next month.
Be Well
Norm and Dolores



Key West article from the Toronto Star

Margaritaville Comes to Niagara Falls

The first Margaritaville Cafe in Canada will open in late spring or early summer in Niagara Falls, Ontario: Margaritaville Canada Ltd. has signed a lease with the owners of the Skylon Tower to open the 14,000-square-foot, two-story restaurant on
Fallsview Avenue, across from the Niagara Fallsview Casino and Resort.
Margaritaville is scheduled to open by late spring or early summer,
said George Davidson, Margaritaville Canada president and chief
executive officer.
The restaurant is moving into the site of the former Wolfgang Puck’s Cafe, which closed last summer. Margaritaville Canada is investing “several million” into the Niagara
Falls project, Davidson said. The restaurant is the first of several
the Calgary-based company has planned for Canada. The company has the
exclusive Margaritaville rights for Canada.
“The (Niagara Falls) location is just spectacular,” Davidson said. “You
couldn’t find a better site between all the activity and overlooking
the falls.”
Davidson said the restaurant site is currently being expanded. Part of
the renovations call for a second-story outdoor patio that will offer
dramatic views of Niagara Falls.
Margaritaville will have a 350-person seating capacity, an increase over Wolfgang Puck’s capacity by more than 175 seats.
The restaurant, during the peak summer season, is expected to employ at least 250 people on a full- and part-time basis.
Davidson confirmed plans are in the works for other Margaritaville’s
across Canada. One will anchor the revamped Calgary Stampede grounds
and complex.
“You can probably guess what other cities might end up with one,” Davidson said.
He said locations in Toronto and Vancouver are being considered.
As for the restaurant’s namesake, might Buffett be making an appearance in Niagara Falls.
“You never know,” Davidson said. “He has been known to stop in his other restaurants from time-to-time.”
The Calgary location is under construction and there are reports that a
location will open in Edmonton. And last month we told you about the
possibility of a Nashville location.

Re-live Jimmy Buffett's SUMMERZCOOL Concert from Toronto
For those who were there and want to hear it again OR for those who missed it, click here to hear/download the show


Toronto SUN Review of Buffett's Toronto Show - 11/20/2009

By Jane Stevenson, SUN MEDIA

When you go to a Jimmy Buffett concert, you’re truly entering Margaritaville.

Witness Buffett’s so-called Summerzcool Tour which blew into the Air Canada Centre on Thursday night for a rare cold-weather indoor show, drawing about 12,000 people, a.k.a. Parrotheads, many wearing pirate, sailor or straw hats, with flowered leis around their necks.

“It might be raining out there in Toronto but we got a cloudless, sunny sky in here,” said the 62-year-old Buffett, in a T-shirt, shorts and barefeet and weilding a guitar in front a video screen that showed endless images of beaches and sunsets all night long.

Joined by the 10-member Coral Reefer Band on a stage adorned with bamboo rails, palm trees, beach balls, strings of white lights, and the obligatory steel drums, Buffett’s good-time vibe seemed to go a long way with fans eager for sunshine.

After opening the two-and-a-half-hour show with the trio of Lage Nom Ai, Stars On The Water and the new song, Summerzcool, Buffett’s acoustic guitar player Mac McAnally traded verses with him on It’s Five O’ Clock Somewhere followed by his backup singer Nadirah Shakoor joining him for Conky Tonkin’.

In case, you haven’t figured it out yet, this ain’t exactly Radiohead.

When a yellow beachball with a smiley face landed at Buffett’s feet, he held it up to his face and broke out into a big smile, commenting: “This smells like beer and marijuana. Not a bad smell.”

The crowd really came alive for Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes while videos of the Parrotheads’ legendary tailgate parties were shown, and Volcano as in: “I don’t know where I’m a gonna go, when the volcano blows.”

There’s just no getting these people down.

“It’s amazing what happens when thousands of people sing together,” said Buffett, who has Candian roots that trace back to Glace Bay, N.S. “It’s a wonderful release.”

The crowd singalongs continued with Cheeseburger In Paradise, Come Monday, Son Of A Son Of A Sailor, One Particular Harbour, Margaritaville, Fins, and covers of Van Morrison’s Brown Eyed Girl, Crosby, Stills & Nash’s Southern Cross and The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine.

“I think we are doing a pretty good job of keeping summer extended up here,” said Buffett.

He also tried out new material from his forthcoming studio album, Buffet (one T) Hotel, due Dec. 8, like A Lot To Drink About, Wings and Surfing In A Hurricane, and played ukelele on the old chestnut, My Head Hurts, My Feet Stink & I Don’t Love Jesus.

Buffett made a big deal out of the fact that trumpet player John Lovell, who celebrated his birthday Thursday, was allowed to chose a song to do a solo to and went with Pencil Thin Moustache.

Other song titles included Jamaica Mistaica and Last Mango In Paris. You get the idea.

But before launching into a rare reflective and acoustic number, A Pirate Looks At Forty, Buffett praised Gordon Lightfoot who was singing across town at Massey Hall on Thursday night during the second evening of a four-night stand.

“I’ve never seen Gordon Lightfoot and on the night he’s playing, I’m working,” lamented Buffett, who closed the evening alone on stage with the heartfelt He Went To Paris.



Lage Nom Ai
Stars on the Water
It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere
Conky Tonkin’
Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes
Cheeseburger in Paradise
Come Monday
Son of a Son of a Sailor
Brown Eyed Girl
One Particular Harbour
A Lot To Drink About


One Love
My Head Hurts, My Feet Stink & I Don’t Love Jesus
Pencil Thin Moustache
Jamaica Mistaica
Gypsies In The Palace
Last Mango in Paris
Surfing In A Hurricane
Southern Cross
A Pirate Looks at Forty


We are the People our Parents Warned Us About/Twist and Shout
Yellow Submarine
He Went To Paris (solo)


Radio Margaritaville: Toronto pre-concert interview with Jimmy Buffett and Mike Utley - 11/19/2009
Click on the attachment to hear Jimmy Buffett on Radio Margaritaville before the beginning of Toronto's concert.


680 News Interview with Jimmy Buffett and Maplereefer Pres. Joe Montagnese - 11/19/2009
Click on the attachment to hear 680 News interview with Jimmy Buffett. Also interviewed, was our president, Joe Montagnese
Jimmy Buffett Interviews.mp3


Toronto Maplereefers in the Toronto Star - 11/15/2009

Parrotheads keeping cool in Margaritaville North
November 15, 2009

Linda Barnard

Jimmy Buffett brings his latest tour, Summerzcool (in support of his new album, Buffet Hotel, due out Dec. 8) to the Air Canada Centre Thursday.

Will Parrotheads flock where they might get frost on their feathers?

Tropical troubador Jimmy Buffett brings his latest tour, Summerzcool (in support of his new album, Buffet Hotel, due out Dec. 8) to the Air Canada Centre Thursday. It's a rare cold-weather show – held indoors rather than the usual open-air Molson Amphitheatre – for a performer synonymous with an endless Caribbean summer.

Which brings up an important aspect of every Buffett concert: the massive tailgate parties that spring up in arena parking lots, complete with bars, blenders filled with margaritas, inflatable pools and barbecues grilling cheeseburgers while beach-party costumed fans eat, drink and dance.

Not only is there no parking lot at the ACC, it's probably going to be too chilly to dance outdoors in a grass skirt and coconut bra anyway. But Buffett, 62, has no doubt his loyal fans, dubbed Parrotheads, will be out in force.

"I remember going to Minnesota and seeing fans out in the street tailgating. You watch, they will figure it out," Buffett says from an undisclosed east-coast location, the slight southern drawl of his Alabama roots coating his voice. "Our fans are a very resourceful bunch."

The "resourceful bunch" that makes up the 157-strong membership in the Toronto Maple Reefers Parrothead Club plans to hold their tailgate in the warmth of Whistler's Grille and Café Bar on Broadview Ave., the group's clubhouse for regular get-togethers.

"We'll form a conga line and dance down to the subway," says Trina Waddell, 45, a second-generation Buffet fan from the age of 10.

She earned her Parrothead wings courtesy of her aunt, Kristen Jensen, 61. Both women are dressed in gaudy Caribbean-themed finery to chat with the Star: Hawaiian shirts, leis and goofy hats studded with goodies taken from Buffett lyrics. Dressing like they survived an explosion in a Mai Tai factory is a big part of the Parrothead ethos. While not required, nobody will look twice at anyone attending a Buffett event in a coconut bra, grass skirt and flip-flops. And that's the men.

"I think there's a kind of misconceived notion that in order to be a fan you have to put on a coconut bra," says Buffett. "A good number of people don't come in costume and are just as rabid fans. It runs a much broader spectrum age-wise and you can get as crazy as you want. There are no rules."

Well, perhaps a few: Know your lyrics, sing along and quote liberally. And whenever possible, follow the same travel patterns as your musical hero, sailing into the same exotic harbours or sitting in the Paris cafes he sings about.

Buffett fan clubs boast more than 230 chapters in Canada, Australia and the U.S. In Toronto, there's the six-year-old Maple Reefers club, a riff on Buffett's Coral Reefers backup band. Club vice-president Derek Knights, 51, has been a fan since 1977 and will see his 72nd Buffett show Thursday.

"It could be more," he confesses with a shy grin. "Some of the early shows are a bit fuzzy."

He's dressed in an artfully airbrushed white suit jacket, a tribute to Buffett's "A Pirate Looks At 40" and his White Sport Coat And A Pink Crustacean album.

Knights has travelled all over the U.S. to attend Buffett shows, spending an estimated $35,000 on his Parrothead pursuits. He was on the road again last week, in Key West, Fla., for the 18th Meeting Of The Minds, an annual Buffett convention that draws more than 3,000.

Fans spend a lot of time explaining there's more to Buffett than his 1977 hit, "Margaritaville" and there's more to being a Parrothead than dressing in Caribbean drag.

Margaritaville is more than a song title. It's also a state of mind, the fans say. ("My Margaritaville isn't everybody else's; it doesn't have to be," says Buffett. "Everybody needs it and it is what it is.")

Margaritaville is also the name of Buffett's successful chain of themed eateries that kicked off in Key West in 1985 and is about to expand into Canada with restaurants planned for Calgary and Niagara Falls. He also has a stake in more than 30 "Cheeseburger in Paradise" restaurants (named for the song of the same name), and a Margaritaville Casino and Resort is under construction in Biloxi, Miss.

"I honestly believe he truly does enjoy what he's doing and he's not into it for the money," says Glenn Murray, 47, a longtime Parrothead who is taking his 12-year-old son, Greg, to his first Buffett show. "He does it for the stories he can tell."

So what is it about the singer and his story-songs that holds fans with such loyalty?

"It's like a family," says new club member Joan Roberts. "Jimmy Buffett is a storyteller and when I listen to his music it's about life experiences."

Those experiences are based on Buffett's enviable lifestyle as adventurer, pilot, sailor and performer, taking exotic trips and writing songs about the Caribbean, South Pacific, Paris and most recently, Africa. The music on the new album has a strong West African influence, some of it written while Buffett was at the Festival In The Desert near Timbuktu, Mali.

Buffett also includes Canada among those experiences. He traces his roots to Glace Bay, N.S., where his grandfather worked on ships. And he still has good friends in Toronto; pals he plans to join for an oyster roast featuring some of P.E.I.'s finest while he's in town.

"We've got great fans there and I have my lineage ... so I'm happy to be coming. Pray for an extended Indian summer and good weather," Buffett says.

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